Iolite is a beautiful, yet little known gemstone.
The Greeks were one of the first civilisations to mention their use of Iolite in any great detail, but by far the most famous historical users of this stone were the Vikings.
The Vikings used Iolite as an early form of navigation in their expeditions across the seas and oceans. How they did this remarkable feat was actually quite simple in theory. The Vikings relied heavily on the sun and the stars for their navigation. Of course looking directly at the sun has never been a good idea so this early civilisation actually used thin pieces of Iolite to look up at the sun and shield their eyes from the direct glare.
In more modern times this gemstone has found use in both industrial and "new age" circles.
The primary industrial use for this stone is in catalytic converters. The makers of these car parts cover the item in a ceramic coating and a major component of the coating is Iolite. The coating is applied to help prevent the converter from cracking when in use.
The "new age" affection for this stone is connected to the beliefs that the stone is useful in opening the "third eye" and can be beneficial for clairvoyance by promoting a feeling of inner peace. The gemstone is also held to be connected to strength, leadership, and self confidence by some belief systems.
The often overlooked use for this beautiful stone is, of course, in pieces of jewelry. Iolite is not a rare stone and is found in large quantities in places such as the U.S., Norway, Canada, Brazil, and India.
Iolite is available in all the usual jewelry items you would expect, Iolite rings, pendants, bracelets, etc are not too hard to find is you are prepared to take time to search a little.
Although the stone is tough enough for day to day wear, extra care should be taken when cleaning this stone. The best method is using luke warm soapy water that contains no harsh chemicals or cleaning agents. It is strongly advise to not put the stone in an ultrasonic cleaner or to steam clean due to the risk of damage from the high temperatures.
Iolite is a wonderful gemstone that is sadly overlooked by most people, but it can make a great gift for someone.